‘Feelgood journalism’ for the babu, of the babu

While promoters of these magazines say it is only right that bureaucrats get their due in the public space, others disagree. "There was a time when seen in the public space was considered a negative trait," says a former Union Home Secretary who did not want to be named. "I strongly feel bureaucrats are backroom boys and they should remain there."

Some of his junior colleagues feel otherwise. "When nobody complains about the brickbats they (bureaucrats) get, why should they complain when they get bouquets for the good work they do," says Amitabh Kant, CEO and MD, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development. "Besides, there are issues, such as the transfer of 16 Secretaries in the tourism ministry in five years in UP, that need to be highlighted. Why should officers be not allowed to put their plight on record?" he asks.

Promoters say these magazines have a ready readership in corporate circles, too, especially among those who need to keep a close tab on developments in the power circuit.

Ilyasi, once a well-known television host, claims his magazine sells around 115,000 copies. Tyagi says gfiles sells 20,000 whereas Malhotra says Whispers In The Corridors currently sells only around 4,000 copies. All three are monthlies and are priced at Rs 50.

Their main revenue comes from advertising. No marks for guessing whom the big advertisers are—public sector companies run by the same people who figure in these magazines.

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